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Tampa Bay Rays Rumored To Have Interest In Joey Votto

The Tampa Bay Rays haven’t been nearly as exciting over the past few week as their counterparts down in Miami, but that doesn’t mean they are standing still either. The Rays have a set list of needs, and judging from recent reports, they are keeping their options open on how to fill them:

#Rays concentrating on 1b, DH, 2 rlvrs. Want to hold SP depth, but would change if Votto became available #Reds (Joel Sherman, NY Post)

Joey Votto would be a huge improvement for the Rays’ offense, as he’s one of the top hitters in the majors (.947 OPS in 2011), and he would plug the organization hole at first base. The only problem is that Votto is under contract for $26 million over the next two seasons – $9 million in 2012, $17 million in 2013 – and the Rays don’t have much budget space to take on a contract of that size. They certainly have the pitching depth to interest the Cincinnati Reds, but the money makes it doubtful that a deal will actually be reached.

Then again, if the Reds were to lower their asking price enough, Votto would be a great addition for the Rays and they could always look to flip him again next offseason. They would be taking on a degree of risk – what happens if Votto gets injured or doesn’t produce in the AL East? – but it’s a possibility worth considering.

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